Nipsey Hussle: A rapper, entrepreneur, community activist, father, and a source of inspiration.
Hey good people. Ralph here. After completing my workday at my freelance gig, I hopped on the A-train to travel up to Harlem. I stuck my headphones in my ears and selected my own curated list of favorite hip hop tracks. I hit the shuffle button on my trusty iPhone XR and ironically, the first song that came on was Nipsey Hussle’s “The Weather (feat. Rick Ross & Cuzzy Capone),” from the 2013 Album, “Crenshaw.” As I sat there on the train, listening closely and intently to the lyrics of the song, my eyes began to water. I repeatedly kept asking myself, “when will this shit stop?” It made me think of friends I grew up with and people that I personally knew, who’s lives were tragically lost due to bruised egos and unsettled beefs.
Once the train pulled into the 125th street train station, I got off and regathered myself, and waited for another train to approach before getting on to go a little further up in Harlem. I walked up to my local barbershop, and again, my eyes welled up again. Peering through the entrance of the shop, I saw friends and old street basketball rivals that I haven’t seen in years. I immediately felt a combination of brotherly love and pride; yet, I had a watchful eye. Why the tragic deaths of great black men seemed to be caused by the hands of those individuals we keep close to us? It doesn’t even have to be a family member, a friend or a coworker; it can be someone that lives down the block from you. That particular person can find something on you to be completely jealous or envious about, which will be used to fuel their blind rage or hatred towards you. The end result of this usually resorts to fighting or bloodshed.
I can’t speak for all black communities, but there seems to be a void of hopelessness and all-around lack of love and respect. Why is this so? The question brings me to the tragic shooting of Ermias Joseph Asghedom, known in the hip hop world as Nipsey Hussle. More than just a Grammy-nominated rapper Crenshaw, who had ties to the Rollin’ 60’s Neighborhood Crips, Nipsey was a son, father, brother, partner, rapper, songwriter, business owner, philanthropist and community leader. He was also a man trying to give back, and as evident, he inspired a multitude of people.
Tragedy came swift and sudden. Nipsey Hussle was fatally shot outside of his own store, Marathon Clothing, this past Sunday, March 31, 2019. The suspect—Eric Holder, was apprehended and arrested by Los Angeles police on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, is being held in solitary confinement on more than $7 million bond, the LAPD reports. There’s been a number of conspiracy theories surrounding Nipsey Hussle’s death. Arguably, the most talked about conspiracy involved Nipsey releasing a documentary on Honduran herbalist and self-proclaimed healer, Dr. Sebi, exposing pharmaceutical companies. The other conspiracy—perhaps being more realistically accepted, was basically rooted in a personal vendetta.
I pray that this post will find the eyes, the hearts and minds of many. Not for the sake of personal gain or satisfaction; but for the simple fact that many of my brothers are dying over nonsense in the streets. It’s almost as if it was a bad horror movie that’s stuck on an endless loop that we’re forced to watch. Nipsey changed his life for the better and tirelessly focused on doing positive things for his family, friends and community. He got out of his own way, followed a path, and dared to be great. His life was cut short in doing so. How do we break this cycle of decimation? Do many of you share the same sentiment as I do? Nipsey’s death was not only a lost for hip hop, but for humanity as well.
“I understand my obligation – I got an obligation to my community first, my family first, to hoods like L.A. all around the country who live for the culture,” he wrote for The Player’s Tribune in 2018. “That’s part of the game, the way I see it. I have a duty to justify the seat that I’m sitting in. Nobody has any success on his own.”
Rest in power forever, Nip.
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